Moulin Rouge! (2001)

The show must go on, Satine. We’re creatures of the underworld. We can’t afford to love.

— Zidler

It wasn’t my intention of doing a Ewan McGregor double feature, but Moulin Rouge! was starts on Logo when I finished watching The Ghost Writer. I thought why the hell not. This is one of those movies that everybody saw when it came out, but I didn’t. A movie set in the turn of the 20th century with music ranging from Elton John to Gloria Estefan to LaBelle to Madonna. How the hell would that work?

I saw the film later that year when Nicole Kidman was getting a lot of Oscar buzz for her lead performance. The movie landed her an Oscar nomination and won two for the beautiful set design and the lush costumes. This is a gay movie through and through. It has gorgeous lead actors, recognizable pop songs and vibrant costumes. What more could you want in a film?

A penniless writer, Christian (McGregor) sits at his typewriter banging away at the keys. He re-tells the past year of his life. His time at the infamous Paris nightspot, the Moulin Rouge, a dance hall and bordello. He tells about the great love of his life, the “Sparkling Diamond”, Satine (Kidman), who is the star of the Moulin Rouge.

Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent) has an idea of turning the club into a reputable theater. To do so, they need the help of a financier named The Duke (Richard Roxburgh). The Bohemians behind the show: Audrey (David Wenham), Satie (Matthew Whittet), The Doctor (Garry McDonald),  Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) and the Argentinian (Jacek Koman) are trying to put on a pitch for their show, “Spectacular, Spectacular”. They need Chrisitan’s help to do it.

During the performance of Satine’s entrance number, Satine mistakes Christian for The Duke because they have a similar tux on. In her private Arabian elephant boudoir, Satine seduces Christian, but Christian thinks that he is audition to be the writer of the show. Christian woos her with his rendition of “Your Song” and she falls instantly in love with him. Satine realizes that she seduced the wrong man and hilarity ensues when The Duke comes to her elephant for their love session.

The main characters try to distract The Duke for finding out the love between Christian and Satine by pitching the plot of “Spectacular, Spectacular.” The Duke is impressed by it and decides to invest. The others didn’t realize that Satine had bewitched The Duke by delivering the same song that wooed her, making The Duke fall in love with her. The most unlikely of love triangles.

Whenever I see this movie, I have a big smile on my face. I am following along with the dialogue, the dance moves and the journey that the characters go on. Director Baz Luhrmann had the ability to turn a conventional genre on its head like he did with the rest of his Red Curtain trilogy with Strictly Ballroom and Romeo + Juliet. I was surprised that he wasn’t nominated for Best Director at the Oscars.

I am not saying that this movie is flawless. There were a couple of gaps that had me scratching my head like why didn’t The Duke pulls Satine aside when she was shaking her tail feathers at Christian? He was right next to him. Or when Satine was delivering her “smoldering temptress” look with the red dress who Satine thinks is the Duke, she arrives in a black night gown and has the same dress on after the pitch section?

I don’t like the “Like a Virgin” moment of the film. I know that it’s supposed to be comedic, but I was cringing at the thought of it.

Judgment: How could you not have fun with this movie?

Rating: 8.5/10

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About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on April 6, 2011, in 2001, Academy Award Winner, Comedy, Musical, Romantic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Like you said, this film is all types of fun. I wish Baz would go back to making movies like these instead of films like Australia.

  1. Pingback: LAMB Acting School 101: Nicole Kidman | The Large Association of Movie Blogs

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